Charley Taylor, the National Football League's all time leading pass reciever, announced his retirement from the Washington Redskins yesterday.
The popular 35-year old Taylor will remain with the Washigton as an assistant to Mike Allman in player personnel.
Taylor's retirement was no surprise to the Redskins and new Coach Jack Pardee. Although the man who had given more headaches to cornerbacks than any pass catcher to play the game had indicated he would return in 1978 after playing out his option and catching only 14 passes last season, it became obvious to Redskins officials during a mini-Camp two weeks ago that Taylor had reached the end of his career.
"I felt I could play but after that mini-camp I gave it some more thought," said Taylor, speaking at a press conference at Redskin Park. "I talked to Jack and some close friends of mine and listened to their advice. Some of them said my motivation and drive was gone. I didn't think so but I thought about it and decided to get off the field."STTaylor, who caught 649 passes in his 14-year career, was making about $135,000 per year. He had been made a qualifying offer to sign for the upcoming season but had yet to do so.
Pardee said the Redskin regretted losing Taylor from the field but he was pleased the veteran was joining the club in another capacity.
Under former Coach George Allen, the Redskins hahd only one black - Bobby Mitchell - in an administrative position. With Taylor and Dick Daniels, recently hired as the director of college scouting. Washington now has three blacks, including Mitchell, in front-office positions.
"We'll miss his leadership. Charley has done a lot for the team and this town," said Pardee, ho was a team-mate of Taylor in 1971-72. "He's had a greater career and everybody's deeply appreciative of what he's accomplished. How many times does a reciever of his stature come along?"
Taylor gave opponents plenty to worry about for 13 seasons. A native of Grand Prairie, Tex., Taylor was an ALL-America running back at Arizona State and was selected by the Redskins on the first round in the 1974 draft.
In his rookie season, he rushed for 755 yards and caught 53 passes, the 814 yards. He was the first rookie most in NFL history for a running back, for 814 yards. He was the first since 1943 to finish in the top 10 in both rushing and recieving and was named Rookie of the Year.
That was especially gratifying for Taylor, who had been critized by former Redskin coach Otto Graham when the Arizona State Speedster showed up for the College All-Star Game in 1964.
"He said I didn't show enough enthusiasm and he said I was too lazy," Taylor recalled. "I got in and won the MVP award. I saw Otto the next year and he said, You know, Charley, I never thought you'd make it."
It was Graham, made coach of the Redskins in 1966, who switched Taylor from running back to wide reciever.
Taylor said soon afterward, the "move was the bst thing that ever happened to me. I only wish I'd spent my first three years catching the ball instead of trying to be another Jim Brown."
Tayloe led the league in recieving in both 1966 and 1967 with 72 and 70 catches, respectively. In 1969 and 1973, he finished as the NFL runnerup in that department with 71 and 59 receptions.
He caught 50 or more passes in seven seasons, was an eighttime Pro Bowl choice and was named ALL-Pro four times.
In 153 games, Taylor's 649 catches were good for 9,130 yards and 70 touchdowns. He also ran the ball 442 times for 1,448 yards and 11 touchdowns, returned five kickoffs for 133 yards, five punts for 63 and returned a punt for nine for 10,833 net yards.
The 6-foot-3, 210 guard Taylor broke the pass-recieving mark of 633 by Don marynard of the New York Jets in the Washington-Philadelphia season finale of the 1975 season. He caught pass No. 634 - an 11-yard toss from Joe Theisman - late in the fourth period.
The last two seasons were not very fruitful for the proud Taylor, known throughout the NFL as one of the fiercest downfield and crackback blockers in the game.
He shattered his shoulder while making a diving catch in the Washington-Atlanta exihibit game and spent the entire 1976 season on injured reserve.
Last season, Taylor started seven games and caught 14 passes for 158 yards. He was hampered by a pulled hamstring and nad kenn all year. His final catch was a five-yard down and-out pass from Bill Kilmer in the Los Angeles game on Dec. 17.
Taylor said he had pondered giving it up for six months but did'nt make up his mind until the three-day session two weeks ago.
"It's tough. I didn't realize it would be this bad. I felt I had prepared myself mentally for this day," said Taylor.
Taylor said he hopes to go into coaching one day.
"I want to learn personnel, both offensive and defensive, and maybe soon I'll be the reciever coach of the Redskins or some other club," he said, glancing over his shoulder at pardee.
Taylor said, although friends and Pardee hinted he should retire> the final decision was his.
"I've always said that when other guys come along who can play as well or better than me, I'll step aside. That 's exactly what happened," said Taylor, his voice quivering. "It was time for charley Taylor to stand down."